Labor believes that donations reform and improving transparency is paramount to a healthy democracy and addressing the declining levels of faith in our political institutions.
It was Labor who, under Bob Hawke, introduced the first donations disclosure scheme in 1983, with a disclosure threshold of $1,000. The Liberals and Nationals, under John Howard, changed the rules in 2006 to hide who was giving them money raising the threshold to $10,000 and linking it to CPI. That indexation has resulted in the threshold blowing out to the staggering and unacceptable level of $14,000.
Labor has already introduced legislation into the Senate which seeks to lower the donations threshold from the current $14,000 to a fixed $1,000. We have also introduced a bill which seeks to establish a real time disclosure regime which would require donations above the threshold to be disclosed within seven days. We understand the need for additional funding for the Australian Electoral Commission to administer such a system and support the Commission being provided with the necessary resources.
Although we acknowledge that both this piece of legislation and that which Labor has introduced may require additional work, it is Labor’s strong belief that donations reform and transparency in disclosure are the vital next steps in preventing undue influence and restoring faith in our democracy.
Senator Carol BrownMr Milton Dick MP
Senator Marielle SmithMs Kate Thwaites MP